The transition from winter to spring is an exciting period for anglers across Port Phillip west.
Although the majority of new season reds are not due to arrive for at least another month, species such as Australian salmon, flathead and resident pinkie snapper should continue to provide plenty of action on the inner reefs especially. Similarly, bream and school mulloway are also expected to remain active in the metropolitan rivers.
Pitching soft plastics in amongst the pier pylons at Port Melbourne is a good option for those searching for a better than average pinkie snapper in the lead up to the season proper. Williamstown reef has been relatively quiet, though there are pinkies to be caught here at dawn and dusk for much of the year. It’s been a similar story around at Altona where the evening bite for those working soft plastics on the drift has been out fishing all other methods.
Despite low water temperatures, flathead continue to offer year round options west of the Yarra River. Point Cook, Werribee South and Corio Bay outer harbour have all been producing reasonably consistent results, particularly in depths ranging from 6-8m. As the mercury rises over the coming months, expect these fish to gradually start moving up into the shallows.
According to Michael Felsovary from Hooked on Bait and Tackle, resident squid have been a little patchy of late, but there’s still a few about in 3-4m at Point Cook. Gold foil pattern jigs have been the go in this area of late. Interestingly, a number of Mick’s customers have been braving the elements under the cover of darkness in search of flounder in the shallows at Campbells Cove. Now, that’s keen!
The lower reaches of the Yarra River at Port Melbourne and Newport have been producing small to medium size Australian salmon for much of winter, especially during the run-out tides. Those casting metal lures from the rock wall at the end of the Warmies boating channel have been successful at times. More often than not, however, the bulk of the school tend to hang out wider where anglers flicking soft plastics from boats equipped with bow-mount electric motors have been doing well.
Further upriver, Docklands has been the mainstay for bream this winter with fish to 35cm regularly succumbing to micro vibes worked vertically alongside the jetty pylons and channel markers. Black is by far the most standout colour pattern and the aim is to imitate dislodged pieces of mussel shell. Consequently, most bream intercept the lure as its falls uninhibited on slack line. Any sign of movement in the mainline is an indication a fish has snatched or at least inspected your offering.
Plenty of juvenile Australian salmon and the odd pinkie snapper have also been taken within Victoria Harbour. Flicking worm pattern soft plastics from his pedal powered kayak, Dale Baxter managed several pinkies to 2.5kg, though he did say it was a little quiet in between hits.
Also fishing from his kayak, Nelson Martins says bream and small Australian salmon have been taken on soft plastic well the Maribyrnong River. Most of the bream seem to be schooling in the deeper sections of the river from Edgewater through to the Anglers Tavern and beyond. Here live baits, including Bass yabbies and tube worms have been productive.
According to Brad Hodges, bream fishing in the Werribee River has slowed somewhat over the past month as the fish push further upriver in preparation for spawning. Metal blades combined with a dead slow retrieve have accounted for a few bream in the deeper sections of the river. Worm pattern soft plastics have also been successful at times with a handful of juvenile school mulloway also falling to both methods.
If the kids are looking for a change of scenery during the September school holidays, perhaps consider a trip to one of the local family fishing lakes. Planned to coincide with the third term break, more than 50 small waters dotted throughout the state will be stocked with advanced yearling rainbow trout, courtesy of Fisheries Victoria. These waters (normally less than 5HA in surface area) provide safe access for juniors and anglers with limited mobility.
Once the trout settle in they generally respond well to particle baits such as corn, maggots or Powerbait nuggets presented on a small hook under a float. A lightly-weighted running sinker rig also does the job nicely. West of Melbourne, family fishing lakes exist at Melton, Keilor, Sunbury, Lethbridge, Bannockburn and Geelong. For a more comprehensive list of locations check out the DPI website at www.dpi.vic.gov.au/fisheries and follow the links to the stocking pages.
Reports, including a general description of when, where and how the fish were caught, and photographs may be submitted via email to --e-mail address hidden--Reads: 1783